Smartphone to kill single-purpose devices in 2016


Digital music devices, digital cameras and e-readers will become redundant

In 2016, the three technologies that will become redundant or unnecessary are digital music devices, digital cameras and e-readers, according to an annual survey of consumers conducted for the IEEE, a professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, carried out by YouGov. The most influential technology items are expected to be drones, smartphones and 3D printing.

The online survey, conducted in November 2015, questioned over two thousand adults of Great Britain to understand their perception of influential and redundant technologies in 2016.

When asked which technologies, if any, would be redundant or unnecessary in 2016 from a list that included laptops, tablets and dating apps, digital devices and digital cameras were in the joint top spot with 15% of respondents selecting each of them. In second place, 9% of respondents said e-readers. Surprisingly, wearables, which includes items such as Google Glass and Fitbit, featured just outside the top three with 8% of respondents thinking they will be redundant or unnecessary in the coming year.

From the same list of technologies, respondents were asked which, if any, will be significantly influential this year. Drones were picked out by 43%, followed closely by smartphones with 38% and 3D printing (31%). Respondents demonstrated a general appetite for technology overall with over a third (34%) of respondents believing none of the listed technologies will be redundant or unnecessary in 2016.

Kevin Curran, IEEE senior member and reader in computer science at University of Ulster, stated: “It is no coincidence that the three technologies predicted to become redundant result from the success of one – the smartphone. It is the defacto way to listen to music and read ebooks; it’s taken over the digital camera market and many believe it will also bring about the demise of the tablet and PC. With sensors now being added to phones, the future for wearables and scanners could be questionable too..”

Comparing against the 2014 survey, smartphones and 3D printing continue to be considered highly influential with a new addition to the list, drones, replacing tablets in the top three. Home automation (3% increase), electric cars (3% increase), and wearables (4% increase) were all identified by more respondents as set to be influential. Meanwhile, fewer people called out tablets (11% decrease), laptops (8% decrease) and e-readers (8% decrease).

When asked which technologies respondents would like to see more of become available to purchase or use in 2016, home automation (20%), electric cars (19%) and 3D printing (17%) came out on top.

New technologies added to the list this year included virtual reality, drones, dating apps, robots and human tech implants, and all received positive responses, with more people expecting drones to be significantly influential in 2016 than any other technology asked about, with an overwhelming 43%.


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